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Administrivia / Word Cruft

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Many new Tropers are unpracticed at economical writing. With that in mind, the following guidelines may be helpful:

  • But enough about that, let's talk about me!: "This Troper is shocked that we have gone so long without mentioning..." "As far as this troper can remember..." This self-insertion can inevitably be removed without changing the content of the example. Although after you do so, you might find it has no content.
  • Bogus intensifiers: Instances of "and even", "an entire", "literally" and "totally" can usually (but not always) be like totally even literally zapped entirely, for real. For the same reason, things like "brutally subverted" or "averted hard" should be brutally averted.
  • Bogus qualifiers: As can most instances of "basically", "just about", and "pretty much", though a little more rewriting may be required. "Also" at the beginning of an example is also unlikely to be meaningful.
  • Gratuitous profanity: While we frown on the Bluenose Bowdlerizer, it's not fucking necessary to emphasize every goddamn sentence with bullshit swearing.
  • Unnecessarily sesquipedalian verbiage: "Due to the fact that" sounds high-falutin' and fancy, but just say "because".
  • Conversation masquerading as example: Paragraphs beginning with "although", "considering", "to be fair", "on the other hand" or "in defense of" can usually be safely merged into the preceding paragraph. Or just deleted and the thing being discussed, often just one word, replaced.
  • Passive aggression masquerading as example: Paragraphs beginning with "actually", "sorry", "it should be noted", or "do you really" can be deleted to improve the wiki; if they actually have a point, this usually means that the paragraph preceding them can be deleted too.
  • No no no no yes: An inexplicable variant on the above where the poster starts off with "not true" or "actually, what really happened is", spends the next few sentences rambling about something tangentially connected at best, and then wraps up by saying "so yes, that actually is right after all."
  • Prolongation: robo-speech: Some editors begin every example with "Subversion:" or "Inversion:" or "Film example:" or, in desperate cases, "Another example:". This ends up making it feel like there's a slight delay between the trope name and the example text, hindering the flow and making it feel robotic.
  • Technologically aided obfuscation: The reverse of the previous syndrome — an entire example with no mention of what story it's from, but for a tiny link buried behind one character's name. Possibly they are laboring under the misapprehension that something more complicated must be better. Easy to expand back into something readable without mousing over random words.
  • Someone should totally look into that: "Does anyone remember a show called...?" "Wasn't there an episode where...?" Wiki pages are not the place to ask this. We have a page just for these questions.
  • Played straight and subverted: A mysterious piece of fluff stuck on the front of random examples. The cool thing is that if you take the time to decode it, it means: "something happens, unless it doesn't". Sometimes, it means "Played straight [here], then subverted [there] in the same work." In other words — there are two (or more) examples from the same work. Sort out which one it is and make the appropriate correction; if it's cruft, cut it. If it's two different examples from the same work, separate them into two sub-bullets.
  • How did we miss ...: Some individuals are addicted to sticking How Did We Miss This One? or other Verbal Tics onto their examples, causing unnecessary clutter.
  • Verbal tics: Certain tropers reflexively prepend "of course", "bear in mind" or "do note" (or in one terminal case: "of course, do bear in mind") to every single example they write. Other examples include "Not to mention...", "Heck...", "Of all things", "Natch", and "Full stop". Just mention it or don't mention it. The preamble and/or epilogue don't help.
  • "Subverted" as verbal chaff: Sticking "subverted by" (or worse yet, "semi-subverted" or "partially subverted") at the start of a paragraph is not a license to spend the rest of it noodling around on whatever topic randomly crosses your lobes. Nor is "subverted" a magical word that takes on whatever meaning you like, including "not actually subverted at all".
  • This Example Is an Example: "X is an example" or "X is this." Well, yes, the reader can safely assume by the fact that you've chosen to include it in a list of examples of this trope that it is, in fact, an example of this trope. Entries written like this can virtually always be rephrased to just launch right into the context without taking time to establish its exampleness first.
  • Unnecessary "clarification": "To clarify", "to expand", and "to elaborate" all look really clumsy in an article, especially when the troper who puts it in feels the need to create a new bullet for it. And even when merged into one paragraph, it makes it look like the wiki is arguing with itself. This falls under the Repair, Don't Respond umbrella.
  • About Rhetorical Questions: This isn't the author's fault. Rhetorical questions are a very useful device! However, if you pose a rhetorical question, or anything that could by the remotest stretch be interpreted as a rhetorical question, someone will respond to it seriously. The probability of this happening is 1. Do not write rhetorical questions.
  • Justifying A Not-Quite-An-Example: "Arguably", "quite possibly", "many believe", and the rest of their ilk are a sign that either the example may not be an example at all, and that the editor who added it knows that, deep in his/her/their heart of hearts; or that the editor is trying to slide a YMMV in on the main page instead of the YMMV tab. If the former appears to be the case, move the example to the discussion page with a request for clarification before it's restored. If the latter, move it to the YMMV tab.
  • Hyperbolic comparatives: "X is built on this trope," "X is the quintessential example," "X is the Most Triumphant Example," "If you thought that was great," "Bonus points for X", etc. Examples operate on their own merits, not in comparison with other examples. Calling something the "greatest X ever" is highly subjective, not to mention irrelevant. If you find yourself doing this, strip out all the fluff and just tell us what's going on.
  • Positional comparatives: "Similarly," "Like the example above," "Unlike the previous example," "Speaking of [X]," "See [other trope]," etc. Tropes may be renamed; articles may be folderized or resorted; additional examples may be added between two adjacent ones; examples may be deleted. Even worse is when this type of referencing is used in place of a proper description. Avoid examples that reference other examples. If you're comparing two examples within a particular trope, consider rewriting them as a single example, or just don't compare them in the first place.
  • Disparaging example phrasing: "[X] is guilty of this," "[X] is a particularly bad example," "[X] is one of the worst offenders," and other such phrases are some of the worst offenders and guilty of being complaining whenever they show up. Nobody is going to weep if you remove them.
  • Gratuitous Emoting: Some tropers tend to write things like "shudder", "sniff", "ew" or "aw" in the pages. These bursts of emotion will be promptly cleaned up as many of us have lost all semblance of human emotion. But don't worry; you'll find plenty of emotions in the page with the "YMMV" label. Hopefully.
  • "Check" lists: "X? Check. Y? Check. Z? Check^2." TV Tropes examples are already in list form, so we don't need unnecessary sub-lists like these when there should be a proper writeup. Additionally, these gags get grating starting from about the fifth time you see them due to their repetitive formula.
  • Listing unnecessary aversions before an example: "X isn't an A, Y isn't an A, but Z is an A" falls under the category of extraneous information, since people do not read trope pages to read about examples that don't qualify. With few exceptions (detailed on Averted Trope), aversions should generally never be listed.

To understand why we want economical writing, see Clear, Concise, Witty.